Creating a living shoreline for nesting shorebirds
In North Carolina’s Pamlico Sound, the remote Beacon Island hosts a sanctuary that is one of only nine nesting sites for Brown Pelicans in the state. The birds, whose available habitat has been rapidly disappearing in recent years, depend on the island’s shore. But that shoreline diminishes annually due to erosion.
With Innovation Grant funding, Audubon North Carolina and its partners used various inventive coastal restoration techniques to create a series of living shorelines along the eastern portion of Beacon Island toslow erosion and rebuild land near the nesting sites. Audubon partnered with the local fishing community to build up the eroding shoreline, using bags filled with recycled oyster shells and planting native marsh grasses. During the tourism season, tour boat operators partnered with Audubon North Carolina to engage and inform local visitors of the critical role the island plays for Brown Pelicans.
This project has not only engage fishers and tourists in the stewardship of shorebirds, but also used innovative techniques to prevent erosion. The result is the beginnings of what will be a thriving Brown Pelican population on the island for years to come.